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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Time to move beyond Bumiputera agenda, says Saifuddin

Former Umno supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah believes it is time to move beyond polices that target favour the Bumiputera. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 30, 2015.Former Umno supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah believes it is time to move beyond polices that target favour the Bumiputera. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 30, 2015.
Putrajaya should not have included a Bumiputera agenda in the 11th Malaysia plan (11MP), given that poverty and income inequality is no longer defined by race, says former Umno supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
Saifuddin, who is also the Global Movement of Moderates CEO, today said he hoped the plan would look beyond race and focus on boosting the wealth of all Malaysians, as recommended by the Malaysia Human Development Report 2013.
“Today, the main issue with regards to inequality is no longer interethnic inequality but intra-ethnic inequality. I was hoping the 11th Malaysian plan would continue with that discourse,” Saifuddin told a conference organised by Harmony Malaysia in Petaling Jaya.
He said that if Putrajaya addressed poverty through needs-based policies, all races could benefit from it including the Bumiputera.
Saifuddin added that Malaysians needed to seriously discuss a timeline for the country to stop focusing on Bumiputera policies and privileges.
“The problem is that people think this is a sensitive matter that cannot be discussed, and if you discuss it you risk being charged under the Sedition Act. But we should discuss this,” said Saifuddin
The Malaysia Human Development Report 2013 found that since 1970, inequality between ethnic groups has decreased and contributes only about 4% to Malaysia’s overall inequality in 2009.
In terms of relative poverty, it noted that the rate among the Malays was 19.1%, followed closely by the Chinese at 17.9% in 2012.
Intra-ethnic inequality, however, has risen, contributing to 95% of total income inequalities among Malaysian households, according to the report commissioned and published by the United Nations Development Programme.
Through the 11MP, the federal government outlined five strategies to enhance Bumiputera Economic Community to increase wealth ownership.
The plan detailed how the government would empower Bumiputera human capital and enlarge Bumiputera wealth ownership share.
However, Malay rights group Perkasa has complained that the five-year development blueprint sidelined the Bumiputera agenda, because only 5% of the 389-page document mentioned the Bumiputera economic strategy.
Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said on Thursday Putrajaya should reevaluate the 11MP, as its focus on the Malay Bumiputera position was “not very obvious”.
Priime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched the 11MP on May 21 as the final lap to thrust the country into developed status by 2020.
- TMI

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